When Janelle Monáe dropped the new bisexual national anthem, “Make Me Feel,” back in February, I was ready to call it in for the rest of the year. There was certainly no way that anyone would be able to top that.
Then Janelle decided that she wasn’t done wreaking havoc on my heart just yet. Today she dropped her third single off of the soon to be released Dirty Computer. It’s called “Pynk” and it’s a black queer feminist love letter to springtime, being femme, black and brown women’s bodies, and vaginas — all divorced from the male gaze, male interests, and the way those topics are generally treated in popular music created by men.
Once again, Monáe and her maybe-probably-girlfriend Tessa Thompson are center stage. The video starts off in homage to another famous pop culture feminist twosome, Thelma and Louise. Tessa and Janelle have exchanged the movie’s iconic blue Thunderbird convertible for a pink one as they cruse through the desert, pulling up to the “Pynk Restaurant and Motel” during a rose painted sunset.
With a chorus of snapping black women dancers around them, Janelle changes into pants that are symbolically designed to look like the lips of a vagina, as Tessa Thompson literally COMES OUT FROM BETWEEN HER LEGS! This is a very sexual moment for us all. Tessa Thompsons’s face winks while sandwiched between Janelle’s thighs, and Janelle sweetly sings about the “Pink like the lips around your, maybe”, “Pink where the tongue goes down, maybe”. She reminds the listeners grooving to her music that “Pink is the paradise found”. I’m no expert or anything, but I’m going to say that we have a lot of loving each other’s pink going on. In a knowing nod to their maybe-possible relationship, Janelle switches tactics, singing “Pink is the truth you can’t hide” as Tessa disappears back between Monáe’s vagina clad legs.
Later, the video’s dancers change into underwear briefs with exaggerations their natural pubic hair visible on the sides. The camera zooms in on the underwear’s hot pink dripped slogan, “I Bite Back”. Fuck yes. And there are literally a thousand other symbolic imagery that I want to talk about with you all! PLUS Janelle and Tessa end the video gently holding each other as they watch the pink sunset on the beach! As if it’s the softest end to the perfect romantic comedy, and not the beginning of the revolution. Maybe it’s both? Who knows?
In the description of the video on Youtube, Monáe tells us that “PYNK is a brash celebration of creation. self love. sexuality. and pussy power! PYNK is the color that unites us all, for pink is the color found in the deepest and darkest nooks and crannies of humans everywhere.” Monáe is celebrating her own body, as well as those of people around the world who are subject to similar stigmas and oppressions. (It’s important to note, however, that not all women have vaginas, and not everyone who has a vagina is a woman, a fact Tessa has been nodding to on Twitter today; and Janelle mentioned specifically on Twitter tonight.)
All that said, I’m ready to dance at Janelle Monáe’s sleepover together as we prepare to celebrate the Dirty Computer drop date (April 27!) as a national holiday.